I'm writing this at LAX, if you get the chance to fly from LAX, Don't bother. For such a busy airport there really is very little to do, not even a good place to get coffee or steal wifi, give me Heathrow terminal 5 any time. Anyway, on the plus side I got to eat a good burger for lunch before I arrived and BA took my bike box with no problems. Looking around you at an airport is always fun, who's here, why? Where are they going? I love guessing peoples' back stories right now I am looking at a guy who is clearly making a pilgrimage to Liverpool to pay homage to the fab four, there is no other explanation for that haircut.
The reason I'm at LAX is that I'm off back to the UK for the Christmas holidays. It's a great chance to catch up with family, eat mince pies, monitor the developments in the beer industry and get some practice in hardening up to ride in the cold. IN this vein, Ellsworth bikes have kindly sponsored my efforts to race cyclocross by providing me with a very cool roots cx bike. It weighs about as much as a gnat's pube and first impressions are very good. I'm loving being off the road on a rig more suited to it than my road bike (on which I snapped the fork, that's why you don't ride your road bike off road kids) and mastering the remounts/ dismounts with limited impact on my "boys bits". Thus far I have entered 2 cx races, you can expect pictures of me covered in mud and manure by the new year.
Anyway, the main thrust of this post is that I'm switching teams for 2010. I had a good time with the Swamis' DET last year but my goals and theirs weren't mutually compatible in the long run. In the coming season I will be riding for team type 1, a squad based on showing diabetic people that anything is possible and diabetes isn't an excuse (now obviously there are limits to this, I can't fly but gravity is my excuse, not diabetes). It's a pretty cool set up and I'm looking forward to doing some big races, travelling around the USA and meeting lots of cool people and having loads of fun riding my bike. I feel this team is a pretty perfect fit for me, there's no pressure to go and race around a car park every weekend and then crash into everyone 100 yards before the whole petrifying experience is about to end (yeah, I hate crits). Furthermore being diabetic is a huge part of my life, but I'm not one to let it stop me doing anything, by being on a team which promotes exercise to the diabetic community I'm hoping to spread a bit of the "can do" attitude which finds me covered in my own sweat and dribble in various advanced stages of hypoglycemia in exotic locations around the world.
Base training this winter has been fantastic; I have been going well and feeling strong, having great fun riding my bike(s). Rolling out on a friend's training camp this week with some of the Garmin team and a few ex world/Olympic/national champions and lots of great friends. I realized how lucky I was to be able to ride my bike for 6 hours in the sunshine in the middle of the week. I love my job and I wouldn't change it for the world. I'm working on a sweet research project on the 1936 popular Olympics (Wikipedia it), teaching a freshers' writing class and riding around in the sunshine. Even when the UC system celebrates Christmas with a 4% paycut, things are still looking good for the future. I don't mean to sound conceited when I say all of this but it's all too easy to look for negatives. So instead of looking back at last year and seeing bad things, look forward to next year and think about how fu**in awesome you can make it!
Next time I write this, it'll be about 30 degrees (proper euro degrees none of this Fahrenheit crap) colder and I will hopefully be more comfortable and a little further away from the worrying rivers of perspiration flowing down this gentleman's forearms. Until then stay, safe, eat well, eat lots and ride lots more.
Ps-if you live in California, oppose the raise in UC fees, education should be free and this is a step in the wrong direction!
Pps If you were wondering yes, ia m still handing out trek bars to the homeless population of southern California